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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Algonquin Power boosts dividend 12% as it switches to U.S. currency

OAKVILLE, Ont. - Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (TSX:AQN) has announced a more than 12 increase in its annual dividend, which in future will be paid in U.S. rather than Canadian currency.

The Ontario-based operator of regulated and unregulated utilities across North America said the dividend will increase on an annual basis to 35 cents US from 34 cents Cdn, effectively a 12.4 per cent increased based on midday exchange rates Thursday.

Payments will continue to be made on a quarterly basis, with the increase taking it to 8.75 cents US per share. The first payment under the new regime will be Oct. 15 to shareholders of record on Sept. 30.

"The board made the strategic decision to change to a U.S. dollar denominated dividend to better align APUC's dividend policy with the currency profile of its cash flows, which are predominantly generated in the U.S.," the company said in a statement after markets closed.

The announcement came as Algonquin also reported a slight decrease in second-quarter net income from continuing operations, while adjusted earnings were essentially flat.

Algonquin, which owns and operates a diversified $3.6-billion portfolio of water, electricity and gas utilities in North America, said net earnings from continuing operations were $15.3 million or six cents per share in the period, down from $15.8 million or seven cents in the second quarter of 2013.

Adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $16.5 million or seven cents per share, essentially level with adjusted net earnings of $14.9 million or seven cents in the prior-year period.

Revenue was $189.3 million, up from $148.8 million, primarily the result of regulated utility acquisitions including Peach State Gas, New England Gas and Pine Bluff Water, as well as higher customer demand and higher rates in some areas and the impact of a stronger U.S. dollar.

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